'Arafah: A Witnessed Day
Shaykh 'Abdul-Muhsin Al-Qaasim
Dhul-Qa'dah 8, 1424 (January 30, 2004)
All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.
Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah as He should be feared. That is the best provision and the only way to salvation in the Hereafter.
Dear Muslims! Seasons of blessings follow one another by Allaah's grace. In Hajj season, hearts of Muslims long for the House of Allaah which they face in every prayer. Their eyes look towards the sacred and blessed places in which lessons are learnt. Allaah says,
"In it are manifest signs." (Aal 'Imraan 3:97)
The place is full of security and safety from Allaah. Allaah says,
"Whosoever enters it attains security." (Aal-'Imraan 3:97)
City-dwellers and country dwellers enjoy its benefits. Allaah says,
"That they may witness things that are of benefit to them." (Al-Hajj 22:28)
The provision of this sacred place is comprehensive and its bliss is continuous. Allaah says,
"Have We established for them a secured sanctuary [Makkah], to which are brought fruits of all kinds? [It is] a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not."
The pilgrims to the House of Allaah show helplessness before Him, hoping for the fulfilment of His promise, and performing one of the greatest acts of worship: Hajj. They want their sins to be erased and forgiven. Allaah's Messenger told 'Amr bin Al-'Aas after the latter accepted Islaam, "Did you not know that Islaam erases whatever sin committed in the past, that Hijrah [migration] erases whatever was done in the past and that Hajj erases whatever committed in the past?" (Muslim)
Hajj purifies the pilgrim from sins and iniquities. The Messenger of Allaah said, "He who performed Hajj and he did not engage in sexual activities nor engage in obscenities will return as [sinless] as the day his mother bore him." (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) He also said, "The accepted Hajj has no reward except Paradise." (Muslim)
Brethren in faith! Hajj has benefits and lessons. Abstention from wearing normal dresses reminds one of the shrouds one will be covered with after death. It teaches humility and shunning of arrogance. All that the male pilgrim wears are just two sheets of cloth and the head is left uncovered as a sign of humbleness for Allaah.
Sincerity with Allaah in acts of worship and affirming His Oneness are the hallmarks of Hajj. It is the first word uttered at the beginning of the rites of Hajj when the pilgrims says, "Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk."
It is a proclamation of the Monotheism and shunning of polytheism. 'Labbayk Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk,' [I respond to Your call, O Allaah, I respond to Your call.]
This proclamation also reminds of Allaah's favours: 'Innal-hamda, wan-ni'mah laka,' [Yours is the praise and favour.]
Therefore, he who answered the call of Allaah to His sacred city for Hajj has a greater responsibility to obey His commandments in other things.
Dear brethren! The Sight of the Ka'abah is that of being sincere with Allaah in all acts of worship. Prophet Ibraaheem and his son raised the pillar for this sacred house, yet they were asking Allaah to accept it from them. Allaah says,
"And remember when Abraham and [his son] Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House [the Ka'bah] and saying, 'Our Lord, accept [this service] from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower."
Al-Hasan Al-Basree said, "The believer possesses kindness and compassion but the hypocrite possesses cruelty." The pilgrim must therefore, performs his Hajj rites and other acts of worship sincerely for Allaah alone. He should not to show off or boast with his acts of worship. He should rather seek for the pleasure of Allaah and expiation of his sins.
Dear Muslims! Going round the House of Allaah in Tawaaf has strong impacts in the hearts. There is no place in the earth around which Tawaaf is made as an act of worship except the noble Ka'bah.
Kissing the Black Stone also indicates submission to the Will of Allaah even if the logical reason behind doing so is not manifest. 'Umar bin Al-Khattaab said addressing the Black Stone, "By Allaah, I certainly know that you are only a stone that can neither cause benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allaah kissing you, I would not kiss you." (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)
Rites of Hajj teaches us to stick to the Sunnah and follow the path of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allaah said, "Take your Hajj rites from me." The Muslim must therefore follow the Messenger of Allaah in all acts of worship. Allaah says,
"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.
" (Al-Hashr 59:7)
Brethren in faith! 'Arafah day is a grand day. It is the unique conference of the Muslims. It is the day of hope and humility. It is a day of showing submissiveness and helplessness. It is very dear to Muslims. Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "In the evening of the day of 'Arafah, indescribable faith, mercy, light and blessing descend on the hearts of the pilgrims."
Dear brethren! The best supplication is that of the Day of 'Arafah. Ibn 'Abdil-Barr said, "The invocations of the day of 'Arafah are mostly accepted." Frequent recitation of the statement of piety with full understanding of its meaning is the best act. The Messenger of Allaah said, "The best supplication is the one done on the day of 'Arafah. And the best statement uttered by me and the Prophets who were before me is: 'Laa ilaaha illallaah, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, lahul-mulk walahul-hamd wahuwa 'alaa kulli shay'in qadeer.'
One the day of 'Arafah, Allaah liberates many from Hell and He is proud of the pilgrims in front of the Angels. The Messenger of Allaah said, "The day in which Allaah liberates more of His servants from Hell is the day of 'Arafah. Allaah draws near on that day and boasts with them [the pilgrims] and says: 'What do these [servants] want?'"
Ibn 'Abdil-Barr commented on this hadeeth saying, "This indicates that their sins will be forgiven, because Allaah does not boast with the sinners except He has accepted their repentance and forgiven them." Humble yourself to Allaah on that day and show helplessness in front of Him hoping for His promise and fearing His punishments.
Fellow Muslims! People's gathering on that day reminds of the greatest gathering of the Day of Resurrection; the day in which Allaah will judge among His creatures after which the dwellers of Paradise will be sent to their abode and the people of Paradise will be sent to their abode.
Supplication is an important act. The pilgrim asks his Lord for his needs. Follow the approved manners of making supplication and beware of falling into thing that can prevent your supplication from being accepted. Seize the opportunity of excellent places and periods for your supplication and face your Lord with your heart. Allaah says,
"Call upon Allaah making your worship pure for Him."
Invoke Him, ask Him for relief and be sure of response to your invocation. Do not lose hope if response to your supplication is delayed, for there is mercy and wisdom in delay. Allaah says,
"Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" - and it is!"
Dear brethren! Slaughtering for hady or udh'hiyah is an act of worship that should exclusively be directed to Allaah alone. Allaah says,
"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allaah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him."
Lowering heads for Allaah while shaving or cutting the hair is a sign of submission to Him, and a sign of showing helplessness before Him. Also, remembrance of Allaah is a means of giving life to the heart, refining the soul and purifying the mind. Making much of it at the places of Hajj rites makes its acceptance more likely and indicates the sincerity of the worshipper. Allaah says,
"That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade), and mention the Name of Allaah on appointed days."
He also says,
"Then when you leave 'Arafât, remember Allaah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Mash'ar-il-Harâm."
Allaah also says,
"So when you have accomplished your Manasik, remember Allaah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance."
"And remember Allaah during the appointed Days." (Al-Baqarah 2:203)
Remember through your Hajj, for Hajj rites are ordained for that. Allaah's Messenger said, "Circumambulation of the House, trotting between As-Safa and Al-Marwah and throwing the pebbles [at Jamaraat] are all ordained for the remembrance of Allaah." (At-Tirmidhee)
The nearest to Allaah in position among the pilgrims is the greatest of them in remembrance of Allaah. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "The best of performers of acts of worship are the ones who remember Allaah most in these acts of worship. The best of fasting Muslims are those who remember Allaah most in their fasting and the best of charity givers are those who remember Allaah most while giving their charity and the best of the pilgrims are those who remember Allaah most."
Brethren in faith! After finishing your Hajj, seek much forgiveness from Allaah for that is the best way to conclude acts of worship. Seeking forgiveness turns one's imperfect deed to perfect and elevates a servant from a lower position to a higher one. He who performs his Hajj perfectly and abstains from imperfections returns home a better person. Allaah says,
"And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)."
Fellow Muslims! He who has attained the blessings of Hajj would return to his country a better, purer and more peaceful person. He would be full of faith and piety. His behaviour would be refined and he would be more determined to perform righteous deeds and move closer to Allaah.
Of the signs of acceptance of righteous deed is to perform another righteous deed after it. Let the pilgrim be a model in piety, righteousness, calling to the way of Allaah with sure knowledge and upholding the religion of Allaah when he returns to his country.
Dear pilgrim! Your departure from places of Hajj rites should remind you of your departure from this world. You are on a journey that will be followed by another journey to your grave. So make provision for that journey from this. Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "Men are always on a journey right from the day they were born till they will enter Paradise or Hell."
Therefore, seize the opportunity of the seasons of Ibaadah before they are gone for life itself, is a chance. The days are numbered and spans of life are short.